There is rumoured to be a noble dragon, an almost mythical beast, long thought to be extinct in Torea – terrorising a village in the north, at the foot of the Sky Cleaver mountains. Saul Karza, Emissary to the Empress and licensed magic user, has been sent by the empress herself to assemble a band of warriors to investigate, and if it is true to vanquish it.
The band of warriors he’d set out to assemble having failed to materialise, he enters the town of Trest with a homeless dwarf, and two sell-swords from the barbarian northlands, who had grown weary of working as labourers at the dock.
It seems logical to seek a fabled dragon slayer, the last known living soul to prevail in battle against a noble dragon, even though he may not turn to be all they expected. When the companions set out from Trest, they find simply getting to the Sky Cleavers proves to be a challenge and by the time they are ready to confront the beast, the party has changed drastically, combining some of the rarest races in Torea, all joining the party under very different circumstances.
As the gravity of their grim task becomes apparent, the warriors begin to realize, their chances of success are not good, and even if they can prevail against the odds, it seems unlikely they will all survive the encounter.
When the quest is done, the true nature of the Empress’s mission is revealed. What is not revealed is the mysterious ‘Truth’ which Brael continually references but it unable to talk about, nor the devastating ramifications the ‘Truth’ has on everyone.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Martyn Stanley is a talented new voice in the fantasy genre, and his book, “Deathsworn: the Last Dragon Slayer” Surprised and delighted me. Just when I thought there was no more room for yet another book about slaying a dragon, came this one–and it made me think twice about that judgement.
Here is what I loved about this book:
First of all, the main character is not your average,”I shall succeed at everything except keeping my ego in check” type of hero. This was important to me as I have seen this in far too many books. I liked that this character had faults and wasn’t perfect. It allowed me to feel closer to him and to identify with his purpose and plight that much more.
I applaud the dynamic between the characters in this book, in particular the relationships between the members of the group that ended up travelling together. I enjoyed wondering what would happen between a burgeoning love interest and two people that could have either become friends or ended up at odds. The author has a talent for creating tension between his characters and keeping the reader engaged for the duration of the story.
The battles scenes are well placed and strategic and reminded me somewhat of a movie. Martyn Stanley is good at anticipating the desires of the reader and fulfilling them in such a way that keeps you wanting to get to the next page.I never felt the pace drop in this story and it kept me reading even late into the night.
I also liked that the reader was introduced to the characters without miles and miles of pointless back story. You come into the novel where the characters are at in their current life and get to know them via their life from that point forward, rather than wading through the early lives and times of said characters. This was a nice angle for a fantasy author to use.
One of the more exceptional portions of this book, was the language that this author gave to the elves. I liked the original dialect and felt it helped them to stand out from the other characters in the book. I was transported to another world, rather than just reading about it second-hand.
I think this book is evident that Mr. Stanley is an author to watch–a promising new talent with a bright future ahead of him. I am greatly looking forward to his next book.
Overall, this was a wonderfully refreshing fantasy novel with lots of surprises and reasons to love it. I would recommend this to anyone who is tired of the basic formula and is looking for something that has not been done before. Great book.